Israeli defence minister expected to call for halt of judicial reforms

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has summoned Yoav Gallant, ahead of a public intervention in which the defense minister is expected to call for a halt to the government’s highly controversial judicial reform, which critics say is dismantling Israel’s democratic system.

Netanyahu has reportedly delayed his flight to London on Thursday evening and will make a public announcement at 8pm local time.

Public broadcaster Kan reported that Gallant is expected to call for a halt to the reforms after a meeting between Netanyahu and the military chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, who warned of dire consequences if the bills are passed. Gallant is also believed to have consulted with Benny Gantz, the opposition politician and former military leader who served as defense minister before him.

According to Kan, Justice Minister Yariv Levin told Netanyahu’s office that he would resign if the reforms were stopped.

Israel has been hit in recent weeks by major opposition to the many pieces of legislation being pushed through by the Netanyahu government, which are aimed at overriding the authority of the courts.

Israel’s judicial crisis: What reforms are causing anger?

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Hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets in protest across Israel, as recently as Thursday when Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed the first piece of legislation in its entirety.

Among the protesters were several members of the Israeli army, including air force reservists pilots.

Their threats to withdraw from service have fueled fears that Israel’s military and security could be severely weakened, concerns that Gallant last week called for a compromise on the judicial reforms.

Kan reported that around half of MPs from Netanyahu’s Likud party are keen to freeze the reforms, fearing a backlash, with one MP telling the broadcaster: “They wanted the reform but were not ready to pay the price .”

Galit Distel AtbaryanIsrael’s public security minister, asked any MPs who do not want to continue the reforms to resign.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli MPs approved a bill that makes attorney general Netanyahu not declare that he is unfit for office. After the vote, hundreds of thousands of Israelis marched through Jerusalem, with some blocking a highway and clashing with police. At least 40 demonstrators were arrested.

“The water cannons, the arrests and the police violence are what motivate me to protest even more, and it will be the same for other protesters,” said Shai Harel, a protester who blocked the Ayalon highway. by Middle East Eye.

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